Myanmar Army’s Delegation Visits Pantsir SAM Production Facility In Russia

Under Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar has bought Russian weaponry including MiG-29 jet fighters and the Pantsir-S1 missile system. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Reuters)

A military delegation from Myanmar visited a KBP Instrument Design Bureau facility in Russia which has been tasked with the manufacturing of the famed Pantsir missile system, as dozens of NGOs call on UN to impose arms embargo on the military junta.

“Recently, a military delegation from Myanmar came to Russia at the Pantsir ZRPK manufacturing plant to see the stages of production,” an informed source was quoted as saying by Interfax.

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 22 January that it will supply an undisclosed number of radar stations, Pantsir-S1 self-propelled short-range air-defence (SHORAD) systems, and Orlan-10E multirole unmanned aerial systems (UASs) to the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw).

The MoD said in a statement that the move is part of an agreement signed in Naypyidaw between Tatmadaw Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The MoD provided no further details about the deal, including the value of the contracts, the delivery schedules, or the type of radar stations ordered, but pointed to the growing military-technical co-operation between Moscow and Naypyidaw since 2001.

The visit to the Russian plant came even as more than 200 non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, called on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar’s military in early May. The plea to slap weapons ban has been opposed by two countries that hold veto-wielding power on the Council- China and Russia.

“The UN Security Council’s failure to even discuss an arms embargo against the junta is an appalling abdication of its responsibilities toward the people of Myanmar,” said Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch. “The council’s occasional statements of concern in the face of the military’s violent repression of largely peaceful protesters is the diplomatic equivalent of shrugging their shoulders and walking away.”

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The United Kingdom, the council’s designated drafter of Myanmar texts, should immediately open negotiations at the Security Council on a draft resolution authorizing an arms embargo. The UK has been reluctant to do so, prioritizing consensus statements supported by all council members over a resolution with substantive measures that China, Russia, and other members might initially oppose, Human Rights Watch said in a statement dated May 5.

“No government should sell a single bullet to the junta under these circumstances,” the groups said in their appeal. “Imposing a global arms embargo on Myanmar is the minimum necessary step the Security Council should take in response to the military’s escalating violence. Arms and materiel provided to Myanmar’s security forces are likely to be used by the security forces to commit abuses in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law.”Myanmar’s military nullified the country’s November 2020 election results and imposed a manufactured “state of emergency.” State security forces have killed over 760 people since the coup and arbitrarily detained more than 3,600, including journalists, medical personnel, teachers, students, and others in violation of international human rights law. Hundreds may have been forcibly disappeared.

A number of individual governments and the European Union have imposed sanctions on senior leaders of the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s military is known, and companies controlled by the military; but the Security Council has only issued three statements since the military takeover. Those statements have called on the military to halt the excessive use of force against protesters and release political prisoners, including former President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and other officials elected in the November 8, 2020, election.

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